Lest We Forget
The Brighton War Memorial commemorating the fallen of The First World War is situated in The Old Steine Gardens. The names of those who died are included on two four sided pillars. There are 2,390 names including 33 who have been added to the top and bottom margins of the pillars. The Memorial simply records the surname and initial(s) .
Since 1921 the Parish Church of St.Peters has had in its possession two memorial books recording the names of most of the fallen. The larger of the two books is an updated version and a considerable improvement on its predecessor. Both were kept on display until 1992, when because of vandalism, they were withdrawn from public display. Both books are available to the public on application to the Church authorities.
Fortunately for research purposes, the men are listed under their rank and branch of service.
The Army Officers, C,S,M’s, Sergeants, Corporals, Lance Corporals and Privates, Riflemen, Bombardiers, Gunners, Drivers, Sappers, and Pioneers
The Royal Navy Officers, Petty Officers, Seaman, Stokers, Wireless Operators, Signallers, Boys, and a section for Naval ranks unknown.
Airmen. Officers, Airmen, Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force.
(160 strong) Unknown Ranks. Men whose rank and branch of the service was unknown at the time and never updated.
Many of the Town Churches have their own Memorials, which in some cases, for example, the Parish Church of St. Albans in Coombe Road, record the individual’s Regiment, date of death and the location where he died. 660 Brighton men lost their lives serving with the County Regiment (The Royal Sussex) and these are easily identified in the Register for the fallen of the Regiment kept at the West Sussex Record Office in Chichester.
The 80 Volumes of ‘Soldiers Died in the Great War’ were reissued by J.B. Hayward in conjunction with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in 1989. These official records, flawed though they are, have helped enormously to identify large numbers of other ranks from the Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery and Engineers. The four Volumes of ‘Cross of Sacrifice’ published in the late 90’s have also been invaluable finding the Officers, and Naval Ratings. The Air forces are largely covered by Wilkinson’s work published many years ago. This is very rare, but the reading room at the Imperial War Museum have a copy available.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission at Maidenhead has provided the means to identify all grave locations. It is possible to hire the registers for a small fee but general inquiries are not welcomed by telephone unless the individual serviceman is a relative. Written requests are dealt with at no less than £2 per head. However in March 1999 the Commission joined the internet on www.cwgc.org. which has simplified matters
The Burial registers of the two main Brighton Cemeteries, Woodvale and Hartington Road, record the names of many men who died after the war from various causes i.e. Influenza, Malaria, and from the results of being severely gassed. Some of these are dated well into 1921, consequently details of their Regiments, Regimental number etc. are not available from CWGC or recorded in SDGW. This also applies in some cases to men discharged during the war, and who later died at home.
Brighton Library has all the wartime copies of the Sussex Daily News and the Evening Argus plus the Brighton Herald, on microfilm, and these contain much essential and useful information.
Sadly, there are many men with Brighton addresses with next of kin in the town, who were, for various reasons known only to the War Memorial Committees of the time, never included on the memorial. Thirty three names were added at a later date (one as late as 1998) but many more appear to have been excluded. Regular soldiers who were born and enlisted in the town are frequently left out. During the course of research for this Memorial and delving into the computerised records and print outs provided by the CWGC a supplementary list of 254 men has been included as an addenda. For example there are four W. Baker’s all born and enlisted in Brighton, but only one W. Baker on the Memorial. The three omitted will be found in the addenda.
There are many gaps to fill and much more information urgently needed. All help in this project will be gratefully received.
Comber December 2007
Lindfield (01444) 482641.
The memorial, because of its size has been split into alphabetical sections. Click on the appropriate letter or section to see the relevant page
Last update 15 May, 2009